From March 15 to 19 Valencia's streets will be filled with the joy and madness of the Las Fallas festival, when the city becomes the stage for an extraordinary show combining tradition, culture, art and sound, in order to welcome in the new season.
Las Fallas: the festival of fire
Valencia is one of those cities which retains its appeal all year round. From its welcoming climate and fascinating historic centre to its long sandy beach and streets and squares lined with tapas bars, it's not hard to see why over a million visitors pour in to sample its wares every year. But March, some say, is the most exciting month of all as the entire city becomes a brilliant show for Las Fallas.
Taking place every year from March 15 to 19 the streets fill for a wild five-day festival, combining fireworks, lights, music, flowers, processions and parties. The welcoming Valencian people invite everyone to join the fun as they welcome the approaching spring season.
Over the course of the first half of March, Valencia becomes abundant with colours and sounds. Las Fallas has a full schedule of vibrant traditions and events that take place, all in honour of San José, and reach their climax on the last day of the festival.
Otherwise known as "The Festival of Fire", one of the main elements of the festival is the "mascletàs" (fireworks) that are launched all over the city. These pyrotechnical explosions are certainly not hard to miss, set off especially in Valencia's main square Plaza Ayuntamiento, as their noises echo throughout the city.
an insight to the festival
Each day throughout the five-day event begins with a loud and elongated wake-up call at 8am where the brass bands and firecrackers take the streets. As the days go on you will notice a "ninot" (giant papier-mâché puppets) on every street corner, which can often be as much as 20 feet tall. The ninots are paraded throughout the streets and then placed in groups to look down over everyone.
The evenings during the festival brings spectators magnificent firework displays by the River Turia building up to the most spectacular show on the night of March 19, which they call "La Nit de Foc" (The Night of Fire). This is the time that all the hundreds of giant puppets that were paraded throughout the festival are set on fire to represent the new season coming in.
As well as all the mad traditions and celebrations, an important part of the festival, and Spanish culture itself, is the fantastic array of tapas and street food. From Valencia's famous paella to delicious Spanish "jamón" or cream-filled churros, the food in Valencia is amongst the best in Spain.